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Man Who Chained Dog in Garage Barred From Owning Animals

Written by Alisa Mullins | May 21, 2013

For at least three long years, Nigel’s “home” was a dark, waste-filled, and dank garage in Hampton, Virginia. Chained to a wall, the dog was never let out of the garage—ever—and was forced to live amid his own urine and feces.

The chain had become rusty and corroded after years of being dragged through his waste, and his feet were covered with sores and urine burns. His eyes oozed pus, probably from irritation caused by ammonia fumes from the urine-covered floor.

After the home was foreclosed on, Nigel’s owner moved out—but Nigel was left behind. His owner stopped by occasionally to dump some kibble into a plastic tub. A compassionate neighbor alerted PETA’s Community Animal Project to Nigel’s plight, and our fieldworker, finding the elderly dog surrounded by pools of urine and piles of feces, unable to reach his food, and with only brackish water to drink, immediately got permission to free him from his prison and swore out cruelty charges. After taking Nigel outside to give him some food, she realized that his back legs were so atrophied from lack of exercise that he could barely stand.

Because of Nigel’s advanced age, his many serious medical problems, and his having gone mad from years of solitary confinement in what was essentially a filthy, stinking cave, it was decided that this terrified old fellow had endured enough, and he was euthanized to end his suffering. 

This week, Nigel’s owner went before a judge. After seeing the photographic evidence that PETA’s fieldworker had provided of Nigel’s horrific living conditions, the man pleaded guilty. The judge sentenced him to 90 days in prison but suspended the jail time as long as he stays out of trouble. He was also ordered to reimburse PETA for Nigel’s medical care and, most importantly, was prohibited from ever owning animals again.

What You Can Do

If you ever suspect an animal is being abused or neglected, alert the authorities right away. Your call could free an animal like Nigel from solitary confinement and get his or her owner sentenced to jail instead.

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  • JOANNE KELLY says:

    why ohwhy oh why

  • Franco says:

    This ‘punishment’ for the demented abuser was pathetic. I am criminal defense attorney and you could not have paid me enough to accept his case. When will judges impose the appropriate sentences for animal cruelty? I hope that I see it in my lifetime. Our furry friends are incapable of this sadism, thus in many aspects they are SUPERIOR to ‘human’ beings. Please donate what you can to PETA and other animal rights organization. If there is a God, this cruel individual will suffer the consequences. RIP, Nigel.

  • Angel says:

    I am the neighbor who called over & over & over!!!It breaks my heart & tortures me that I could not do more. The city kept telling me to stay out of it. For the longest time I thought he was gone but every once in a while I’d hear a bark so I’d call again. There were so many times I wanted to cut his chain. He suffered & this man did not get a harsh enough punishment !! We need harsher laws. RIP sweet boy,Im sorry I couldn’t save you sooner!

  • S Earlene says:

    I often wonder what is going thru an abused animals’ mind. Are they thinking why is this happening to me? Maybe thinking what did I do wrong? Are they thinking if you don’t want me why not send me to a new home? I see the pain, sadness, despair in their eyes. I may not be able to read their minds, but I don’t have to. Their eyes tell me everything. I have taken care of abused animals, what I find so incredible is how forging they are. My cats hold no grudges and even if their life span is short because I took them in when they were older, I’d like to think the few years I gave them a home and love they were able to forget all those years of abuse. I can’t read their minds but I can read their eyes filled w/ gratitude and love. Nigel rest in peace and know you did nothing wrong…..

  • Eve says:

    I’m so sorry Nigel for the miserable life you had. May God hold you in his hands and may you rest in piece forever. We love you Nigel. Sweet baby.

  • Nancy says:

    There are no words to describe the sadness I have after reading this story. Those 3 years chained were like a lifetime of pain for this dog. That man should ave received the exact same punishment he made that dog live…